Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack marked the 39th anniversary of Earth Day April 22 by announcing 56 communities in 34 states have been selected to receive $144.3 million in loans and grants for infrastructure improvements to improve water availability and quality.
"Earth Day is the perfect time to highlight President Obama's efforts to reinvest in and rebuild America's rural communities," Vilsack said. "Strategic investments such as the ones announced today will help improve the economy and the quality life for rural residents."
Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than in 175 countries.
To protect the environment and improve the health of rural families, USDA, through its Rural Development programs, is funding water and wastewater infrastructure projects in local communities across the country.
For example, the German Township Sewer Authority in McClellandtown, Pa., has been selected to receive more than $5.5 million in loans and grants to construct a wastewater collection system along with pumping and treatment facilities to replace malfunctioning and deteriorating systems. The improvements to the wastewater system will benefit an estimated 1,465 residents in Edenborn, McClellandtown and Ronco by eliminating environmental and health hazards that were created through the discharge of sewage into area waterways.
The Star City Property Owners Association in Winnemucca, Nev., will receive nearly $1.5 million in loans and grants to replace a deteriorating, low-pressure water distribution system. The new system will provide approximately 250 residents with a modern water system supplying sufficient water pressure for daily needs, and allowing for the installation of fire hydrants in a community that previously relied on pumper trucks for fire protection services.
A complete list of loan and grant recipients is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement.